Hepner brought to Cairns to face court
A FORMER Port Douglas man will front court this morning after he was extradited back to Queensland on drug trafficking charges.
Smiling and pulling faces, Leigh Hepner, 34, was escorted through Cairns Airport by officers from the Far North drug squad yesterday after a Melbourne court granted his extradition.
It is alleged he and elder sister Jodi Hepner, 44, were key figures in drug distribution through both the Port Douglas and Mossman areas for more than six months last year.
She has also been charged with trafficking and her case was mentioned in Mossman Magistrates Court yesterday, adjourned until April 20.
The pair are among 16 people who have now been charged as part of Operation North Kimberlite which targeted ice supply throughout both Cairns and Port Douglas.
Detectives seized drugs with a total of $1.1 million when they closed the operation in October last year, including methylamphetamines, cocaine, ecstasy, steroids, cannabis and LSD.
Far North drug squad Det Sen-Sgt Kevin Goan said Mr Hepner had left Queensland last year before they had made any arrests.
“He failed to return ... and we issued a warrant for his arrest and he was intercepted (in Victoria) on Sunday afternoon,” he said. His extradition to Queensland was granted in the Frankston Magistrates Court on Tuesday and he is due to appear in the Cairns Magistrates Court today on one count of drug trafficking.
Police allege he was supplying drugs to various people between December, 2014 and July, 2015.
It is alleged he was a middle man for Bungalow man Paul Graham, 34, who was identified as the principal target of the drug operation.
Police used phone intercepts and information from the public during the 11-month operation before officers from the drug squad, Tactical Crime and the Cairns and Mossman Criminal Investigation Branch combined to raid multiple properties in October last year.
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Leigh Hepner, 34, is escorted through Cairns Airport by Queensland Police